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Ambitious Kenyans whose dreams to lead anti-graft body flopped

By Alphonce Shiundu | December 23rd 2015

A primary school teacher, two head teachers, a pastor, a vet, a car salesman, a data entry clerk at the anti-graft commission and an employee of Kenya's spy agency are some of the people who applied to lead the fight against corruption in the country.

These battled with senior lawyers running reputable law firms, professors, and top directors in Government agencies for the job to lead the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, a body that has been led by lawyers since its inception.

In the end, none of them won.

The details on the mix of applicants came out as a parliamentary report, which backed the choice of five new commissioners, noted that the time had come for the country to try other professions for the top anti-graft job.

"The committee observed that previous holders fof the position were lawyers who failed to deliver, and that perhaps it was time to give the position to someone of a different background, especially from the private sector and see what he brings to the commission," reads the report of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee on the new commissioners.

The five await formal appointment by President Kenyatta and swearing-in by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga. They are Philip Kinisu, who is the designated chairman, and members Dabar Abdi Maalim, Paul Mwaniki, Sophia Lepuchirit and Rose Mghoi Mtambo-Macharia.

On the list of applicants with a cocktail of qualifications, the youngest was Juma Halfan Mwakutsodwa, 26, who for the past year has been working as "support staff" for Equity Bank.

For the position of chairman, one needs at least 15 years of experience in either ethics and governance, law, economics, leadership, social studies, accounting, audit, fraud investigations, public relations and media, religious studies or philosophy.

To be a commissioner, the experience in the same fields is a minimum of 10 years. One also needs to have a "distinguished career in the respective field", reads EACC Act.

A total of 28 people applied for the post of EACC chairperson, but only six were short-listed; while 146 applied to be commissioners, but only 13 were shortlisted by the Public Service Commission.

Wilson Kinyua Muchiri is a 61-year-old from Kirinyaga County who has been a secondary school teacher for 22 years. He holds a BA in economics, applied statistics and industrial mathematics. The PSC didn't even shortlist him.

EACC staffer Catherine Beritah, a 29-year-old from Machakos County had also applied for the post of chairperson, and also to be a member of the commission. She holds a BA in criminology, security studies and forensic investigation from Egerton University.

Businessman Nahashon Njoroge Njogu wasn't shortlisted. He is a certified public accountant and graduated from KCA University with a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance).

Two head teachers also applied. One is Kirior Bethwel Kiplagat, principal of AIC Biribiriet Secondary School in Trans Nzoia County. The other is Alfred Mlolwa, from Taita Taveta County, who is the head teacher at Ikanga Primary School.

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